2024 guide to enrolling your child in a school in Catalonia for the first time 

Pre-registration runs from March 6 to March 20 and applications must be completed online

6th grade students at Gem School in Mataró using computers in class
6th grade students at Gem School in Mataró using computers in class / Jordi Pujolar
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 6, 2024 12:01 PM

March 6, 2024 12:04 PM

The next school year may be several months away, but now is the time to enroll your child in a public school in Catalonia for 2024/25. Here is a guide to what you need to do. 

Early years education (3-6 years) 

In general, a child will go to school for the first time in 2024 if they turn three at any point throughout the year. Pre-registration applications must be submitted from March 6 to March 20, 2024. 

What are the criteria I should bear in mind when choosing a school? 

Points are awarded according to the following criteria. If your child has siblings in a school you've chosen, that is worth 50 points. If a school is close to the family home (in the same area of influence) that is worth 30 points. If a parent or guardian works within the same area of influence as a school that is worth 20 points. There are other points applied for other criteria, but these depend on the child and family and do not vary from school to school. You can choose up to a total of 10 schools to apply for, in order of preference. 

How can I search for schools near me? 

The Catalan Education Department has published an online tool that allows you to search for schools by name or by local area and display them on a map or in a list. 

What is needed to pre-register? 

The pre-registration application must be completed online before March 20. Supporting documents may be submitted up until March 22. The Catalan government recommends using a digital identification tool, such as Cl@ve or idCAT Mòbil. If you do not have a digital identifier, you must attach your llibre de família (family book) and the ID of whoever is applying. This could be a passport, DNI, NIE or national ID card from an EU member state. In certain cases, other documents may be requested, for example, an employment contract to verify the location of a parent or guardian's workplace. 

What does the pre-registration application involve? 

Log in with your digital ID (or by submitting ID) and fill in your child's RALC (Catalonia Student Register) number if known, and other data requested. Choose up to 10 schools where you would like your child to get a place. Indicate if you want your child to be assigned another place if none of the schools you request are assigned. Outline any additional relevant circumstances (for example, any specific educational needs). Highlight which of the points criteria apply. Then attach all the required documentation and apply. 

What happens after we apply? 

You can track the progress of your application from April 17 and by June 10 you will find out at what school your child has been granted a place. Enrollment then takes place between June 18 and June 26. 

What about secondary schools? 

For secondary school, applications must be submitted between March 8 and March 20. 

What about nursery schools and kindergartens? (0-3 years) 

For children who will be at least 16 weeks old by the start of the 2024/25 school year, public nursery school pre-registration is open from May 8 to May 21, although some municipalities may have other pre-enrollment dates. 

The Catalan school system 

The Catalan school system, which uses Catalan as the main language of instruction, is divided into four sections based on age group.  

The youngest is pre-school, which students attend between the ages of 3 and 6. Although education is compulsory from 6 to 16, “99% of kids under six are already enrolled” in the Catalan pre-school level. 

From 6 to 12 children attend primary school, before moving to secondary education until they turn 16. 

At this point, students either take part in ‘Batxillerat’ pre-university courses or professional training courses (CGFM and CFGS). 

Catalan schools are also divided into public, private, and semi-private ‘concertades’. Public schools are free and funded publicly, whereas private institutions are paid for. In between these sit the ‘concertades’ which are private schools that are partially financed publicly, thus they are a cheaper option than the fully private centers. 

International schools outside the Catalan system 

Another potential destination for children of international families is one of the international schools in Catalonia. 

Although these schools offer students the opportunity to take exams from their respective countries, most are jointly accredited by international educational authorities or the international baccalaureate. 

There are over 40 international schools in the Barcelona area including the American School of Barcelona, Aula Escola Europea, Benjamin Franklin International School, École Française Ferdinand de Lesseps, Emilio Sánchez American School, Hamelin-Laie International School, Highlands School Barcelona, Kensington School, Lycée Français de Barcelone, Lycée Français de Gavà Bon Soleil, Oak House School, Princess Margaret School, St. Peter’s School Barcelona, The British College of Gavà, The British School of Barcelona, and the International School of Catalunya.

Where can I find more information? 

You can find out more information from the Catalan government's official website